Every time I pick up a can of hairspray, I cringe. I know I’m not the only woman on the North American continent experiencing this, either. It’s always been something of a problem, but seems to be getting more so.
My hair — which was never anything to brag about to begin with — has decidedly become less so. My mother used to tell me it wasn’t thin — it was “fine.” Even as a child, I knew better. My hair wasn’t just “fine,” it was thin, too. Great, both thin and fine. Wonderful.
The only thing mother could do with it was braid it into two thin (or fine. or both) braids which she dressed up with ribbons. And, as if that weren’t enough, it would never grow much past my shoulders. In fifth grade there was a girl named Maria Mendez. Maria had heavy, thick dark hair. Maria could actually sit on her hair, as she demonstrated one day at recess when she took it out of her heavy, thick braids and actually SAT on it. I never liked Maria Mendez. She told us that her hair was so heavy that sometimes it gave her a headache, which made me feel somewhat better. At least my hair didn’t give me literal headaches.
But now, decades later, my hair is worse than ever. It has developed places where it is — how shall I say this? — it has become decidedly less abundant, although abundant was never a word that applied to my hair in the first place. I would like to call these sparse areas “cowlicks,” but let’s be honest, they are thin spots. Every morning I work on these, gently backcombing and coaxing a few strands to scooch over just a little bit, then when I get it just right, I pick up the can of hair spray. And I cringe. I know what’s going to happen. The spray comes out of the nozzle like water from a fire hose and rearranges my careful work. At times I come out looking like a crested cockatoo with hair pointing every-which-way. What’s with that?
I don’t understand the need for something so powerful — I’m not aiming to knock birds out of the sky, for pity’s sake — I just want to plaster my hair down so it’ll stay in place for awhile. I just need some hairspray a few inches away, right here on my head. Maybe I need longer arms; maybe someone needs to invent the equivalent of a “selfie stick” for hairspray so I could hold the can two feet away.
Yes, there are other types of hairspray — the ones with a pump. Those inevitably clog after a few uses, or the little straw thing stops an inch from the bottom bottle and there’s no way to get the rest of it. OR, it smells! Why do they put “fragrance” in the dratted stuff? It’s bad enough that shampoo smells like coconut or ginger, deodorant is “springtime fresh” and the hand lotion smells like lavender, but now I’ve got this other stuff on my hair that has a “light, fruity fragrance.” By the time I’m dressed and coiffed, I smell like a dog’s dinner and am ready to take a shower all over again.
Maybe I should just hose off in the garden and take to wearing a wig.